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Lawmakers consider ban on stimulant sold as bath salt

Posted March 1, 2011 10:42 p.m. EST
Updated March 1, 2011 11:48 p.m. EST

— The latest household item being abused by people looking to get high can be found in the bathroom. It's called methylenedioxypyrovalerone, or MDPV, but it's more commonly known by its various brand names – Serenity, Cloud 9 or Ivory Wave – packaged as bath salt.

It's legal in most states, but when abused, it can be addictive – even fatal.

North Carolina lawmakers are considering a bill that would restrict the sale of these products. Senate Bill 77 would add MDPV to the list of Schedule I controlled substances that are currently illegal to possess, manufacture, sell and deliver under state law.

"Anytime there's something you can buy at a convenience store that is more harsh and damaging than cocaine, God knows the state Legislature needs to do something about that," said state Sen. Stan Bingham, R-Davidson, who introduced the bill.

Health officials say more and more people are snorting, smoking or injecting the synthetic stimulant for a cocaine-like high that can produce hallucinations. The problem is becoming so widespread that the White House is looking into it.

"At a time when drug use in America is increasing, the marketing and sale of these poisons as 'bath salts' is both unacceptable and dangerous," said White House Drug Policy Director R. Gil Kerlikowske in a statement released earlier this month.

According to the Carolinas Poison Center, there are 57 documented cases of MDPV abuse in the state, dating back to October, but no known fatalities.

Last month, the Senate passed another bill that would ban a similar synthetic stimulant called mephedrone that is also found in bath salts as well as some fertilizers.

Last week, a Willow Springs mother was arrested after her toddler tested positive for cocaine. Arrest warrants state that Dana Marie Crawford, 25, was hallucinating from taking mephedrone when she was arrested and that she "thought snipers had shot a hole in the baby."